The recent measurement of the gravity coefficients from the Radio Doppler data of the Cassini spacecraft has improved our knowledge of the interior structure of Titan (Rappaport et al. 2008 AGU, P21A-1343). The measured gravity field of Titan is dominated by near hydrostatic quadrupole components. We have used the measured gravitational coefficients, thermal models and the hydrostatic equilibrium theory to derive Titan's interior structure. The axial moment of inertia gives us an indication of the degree of the interior differentiation. The inferred axial moment of inertia, calculated using the quadrupole gravitational coefficients and the Radau-Darwin approximation, indicates that Titan is partially differentiated. If Titan is partially differentiated then the interior must avoid melting of the ice during its evolution. This suggests a relatively late formation of Titan to avoid the presence of short-lived radioisotopes (Al-26). This also suggests the onset of convection after accretion to efficiently remove the heat from the interior. The outer layer is likely composed mainly of water in solid phase. Thermal modeling indicates that water could be present also in liquid phase forming a subsurface ocean between an outer ice I shell and a high pressure ice layer. Acknowledgments: This work was conducted at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2009
- 5430 PLANETARY SCIENCES: SOLID SURFACE PLANETS / Interiors;
- 6281 PLANETARY SCIENCES: SOLAR SYSTEM OBJECTS / Titan